Leeds City Council announced yesterday that it has joined forces with other West Yorkshire Councils to tackle payday lenders.

Six Yorkshire councils are blocking the websites of all payday lending companies on council-run computers, in what they say is the biggest initiative in the country to take on the industry.  All the councils in West Yorkshire – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – along with City of York Council have taken the step to block the sites of almost 200 high interest Payday lenders.

Anyone attempting to access Payday lender websites on a council computer will instead be redirected to an information page which will provide information about sources of money and debt advice and alternative sources of affordable credit and banking services through local credit unions.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the Association of West Yorkshire Councils said;

“We are seeing more and more evidence of people finding themselves with serious debt problems after being enticed into taking out loans from payday lenders. A recent survey of 113 lenders by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau found 9 out of 10 applicants were not asked to provide proof that they could afford the loan. It can be no surprise that this sort of irresponsible lending leaves many people facing serious hardship. This is an industry which must face greater controls over their operations, but, until they do, we feel that it is necessary to take this action.”

Leeds City Council is also organising a major national conference in Leeds on 25 October, devoted entirely to the subject of high cost lending and how to develop strategies to help citizens who find themselves trapped in a spiral of unsustainable debt. Speakers at the conference will include prominent national figures from the advice sector, the Department for Work and Pensions, Member of Parliament, Church of England and the world of sport. Final details of the conference will be issued during September.

The full press release can be seen at:
http://www.leeds.gov.uk/News/Pages/Yorkshire-councils-join-forces-to-tackle-payday-lenders.aspx

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